I first heard of the RS2 in a feature on some quattro concept. Within it was a piece going through every important car to be given Audi’s trademark four-wheel-drive system. This was stated to be one of the most pure examples of the breed of fast cars that have come about from it.
However, the RS2 also gave birth to another Audi trademark – that ‘RS’ on the front of it, to signal the very fastest of their road-going vehicles.
This is often regarded as the car that finally established Audi as a producer of practical high-performance vehicles: its estate body, seating for five and quattro made it a comfortable daily driver and a halo car all in one.
Of course, aside from that I think it also looks terrific. Not as terrific here as it could have been, mind, since I bought it in the wrong colour.
The grey looked in the menus like the silver I wanted, but it wasn’t. Which is why you might find an awful lot of these pictures have been taken in the sun to brighten it up a bit. Should’ve just played it safe…it looks fine in blue or red too.
The engine is another Audi signature, a straight-5 turbocharged engine which in this instance makes 311bhp. That was great in 1995 but here, particularly compared to some of the cars Audi make today, is surprisingly lacking. It doesn’t feel too fast down a straight and even the acceleration feels a little sluggish past 1st gear.
In many ways though, this is better. Partly because it makes it easier to take care of – something I was doing since I didn’t want to hit anything – and partly because it makes you appreciate the cornering more.
At the pace I was going the RS2 was fantastic in the corners. It hugged the racing line very simply and effortlessly, and when pushed hard it never once felt shaken or out of reach. You can just loll around in this very easily, and it’s very inviting as long as you take it easy.
Indeed, unless you push it very hard, it just grips and goes, although the last corner of this Bernese Alps circuit did give it a little trouble. But then it seems to do that in many cars I drive round here.
Speaking of the circuit itself, it’s also very hilly, which brings us back to the engine. Naturally the speed going sharp downhill was profound, but it struggled a little bit with the most uphill inclines. Again, this goes to show the engine isn’t quite all there these days.
But the sound of it is terrific. It’s exactly like every Audi straight-5 you and I know, and it makes all the sounds you expect. The turbo makes itself known constantly, and the higher up the rev range you go the better the whole thing sounds. There might even be a couple other sounds within inside the RS2.
Frankly, the RS2 has everything going for it. It’s very cheap, looks great, drives well, drives remarkably easily – seriously, you can do just about whatever you want while driving it – and sounds like something you want to drive. The lack of power is relatively inconsequential if you’re someone like me – someone who just likes a nice, good drive.